Weird & Wacky Bird Nests

By Kate Hofmann

Sometimes birds build nests in really strange places!

Click image for a closer look.

When birds make nests, they look for the perfect place to raise their chicks—somewhere out of reach of predators and other dangers, but close to food, water, and other needs. Often this is up among tree branches or in a cozy tree hole. It might be under a bridge, beneath the eaves of a building, or even right on the ground. But once in a while birds choose places that are a little more unusual. Take a look at these wacky nest sites!

FOR THE BIRDS
What better place for a nest than atop this sign that says “Bird”? Do you think this mourning dove can read?

AT HOME ON HIGH
A peregrine (PAIR-uh-grin) falcon mom has planted her chicks in a window box on the balcony of a skyscraper. These birds of prey usually nest on high cliffs, but lately they’ve been moving into cities where they find plenty of pigeons to eat.

DE-LIGHTFUL NEST
When choosing a place for their nest, this pair of striated swallows in China had a bright idea. Their nest probably stays a little warmer when the light bulb is turned on!

Click image for a closer look.

ON DISPLAY
An elegant planter at Kew Gardens in London, England, makes a fine nesting spot for this Canada goose. When the goslings hatch, they can jump right into the pond.

HARD HAT ZONE
White storks build very large stick  nests, often in trees  or on top of buildings. But this pair in Germany picked the top of an excavator to raise their family!

OPEN WIDE
A bananaquit is a tropical bird that usually builds its globe-shaped nest at the end of a tree branch. This one chose someplace a little different—in the wide, open mouth of a mounted trophy fish!

PUT THE KETTLE ON
Anytime is tea time for this family of Eurasian wrens in England. Mom feeds her begging chicks in their cozy kettle nest that hangs on a garden wall.

GO TIME
This osprey got a green light to nest on top of a traffic signal in Florida. It makes a nice, wide nesting platform with a good view.

VIDEO: Osprey Nest

Click image for a closer look.

SHOOT AND SCORE
A pair of American robins gets points for landing its nest right in the middle of a basketball hoop. Nobody else gets to play until the chicks leave home, though!

IN TRAINING
These chicks are off to a running start in their tennis-shoe nest. The hungry black redstart babies need all the food they can get, as they grow up fast.

DING DONG!
A nest under a giant church bell? It might not be the quietest place to raise a family, but this white stork in Spain doesn’t look worried.

ALL ABOARD
Large colonies of northern gannets usually nest together on cliffs by the sea. But this pair chose to go their own way—in an old fishing boat off the coast of Italy!

FUNKY NESTS IN FUNKY PLACES
How about a wacky-nest quest? It’s fun to search for bird nests. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology invites you to take a look around your neighborhood and share your discoveries. Maybe you’ll be the next to spot a nest in a wacky place! Enter the Funky Nests in Funky Places Challenge with a photo, video, poem, story, or artwork. You could even win a great prize! The contest is open until June 30, 2019. Visit FunkyNests.org for more.

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